The NHL's Top Five Best Contracts
The other day I wrote a little article about the NHL’s five worst contracts. Here, have a read:
And while there are so many contracts in the NHL that make me cringe in pain when I think about them, there are contracts that also make me believe that there is still some logic left in the NHL.
So here are some of the best contracts in the league.
For those of you who look at these contracts and think these guys are overpaid, take a look at some of contracts in the MLB, NBA, and NFL first.
5. Henrik Zetterberg
Mr. Zetterberg is going to be in a Detroit Red Wings’ uniform until 2021, thanks to a lucrative 12-year, $73 million contract extension he signed last season.
Detroit’s management has distinguished itself as the premier front office in the NHL. From their scouting to their GM Ken Holland to their head coach Mike Babcock to their players, the Red Wings’ system is nearly flawless.
Zetterberg’s contract is the longest, as well as the most expensive, in Red Wings’ history.
The Red Wings have a knack for signing franchise players. Steve Yzerman spent his entire career in a Detroit uniform and was arguably the best player in Red Wings’ history.
Nicklas Lidstrom, considered the best European player in the NHL ever, has also spent his entire career in Detroit.
I think it’s safe to say that Zetterberg will be following in their footsteps as an equally important, franchise player.
4. Mike Richards
Richards is slowly beginning to establish himself as one of the league’s elite forwards with his great shot and even better defensive play.
On Dec. 13, 2007, in his third season with the Philadelphia Flyers, Richards signed a 12-year, $69 million contract extension that will keep him with the team until at least 2020.
The 25-year-old Flyer has already had an impressive career which includes being named team captain in the 2008-09 season, a Selke Trophy nomination in the same season, and an Olympic gold medal this year with Team Canada.
Richards’ contract is well-balanced and averages Richards $5.75 million per season—a bargain for the player he should develop into.
Although Rick DiPietro was supposed to develop into a great goalie, look what happened to him after that big contract signing. Seriously, is he ever going to play again?
3. Chris Pronger
A contract so good that the NHL launched an investigation into its awesomeness.
Actually, that’s a lie—the NHL just wanted to make sure that the Flyers hadn’t cheated the collective bargaining agreement.
Pronger’s seven-year, $34.45 million contract extension kicks in next season and gets the 35-year-old defenseman a little over $4.9 million on average per season.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but $4.9 million a season for a two-time NHL captain, four-time Olympian, two-time Olympic gold medal winner, and a one-time NHL MVP, Norris Trophy winner, and Stanley Cup champion is a bargain.
The only aspect to the contract that Flyers’ fans are unsure about is that when the contract expires, Pronger will be 42 years old.
But age doesn’t seem to be slowing down the hulking defenseman. Pronger is on pace for 61 points this season—the most since his 2000 MVP season.
2. Roberto Luongo
Among the elite goaltenders in the NHL for several years now, Luongo has been incredibly consistent throughout his career, and locking him up for the rest of his playing days was a great move by the Vancouver Canucks’ organization.
Luongo’s 12-year contract extension, worth $64 million, begins next season and has an annual salary cap hit of $5.33 million.
Since his rookie year, Luongo has not had his save percentage dip below .914 in any season. Not to mention that the season his save percentage did hit .914, he had set the NHL record for most shots faced in a single season (2,488).
Although he is a goalie, Luongo is the team’s captain as well—just the seventh goalie in NHL history to carry the honor.
Luongo has only played in 22 playoff games, but after going 5-0 and leading Team Canada to the gold in the Winter Olympics, something tells me he is primed and ready to go for a Stanley Cup run in the future.
1. Alexander Ovechkin
While every player on this list is making good money, Ovechkin is making top dollar—and by “top dollar,” I mean the most in NHL history.
On Jan. 10, 2008, Ovechkin signed a 13-year contract extension worth an unbelievable $124 million.
It isn’t easy to live up to that kind of money, but Alexander “The Great” has not disappointed.
In less than five seasons, Ovechkin has 263 goals and has established an amazing hockey following in the nation’s capital, which desperately needed a superstar like the young Russian.
To bring Ovechkin’s impact into clearer focus, look at what the Washington Capitals did the season before his arrival. In the 2003-04 season, the Caps finished with a 23-46-10-3 record and just 59 points—tied for the second worst record in the NHL.
In just a little over four seasons Ovechkin has catapulted Washington to the top of the NHL—locking up this superstar was the best move in the franchise’s history.
No write-ups for these guys, but they were close to making the list:
Dustin Brown, Johan Franzen, Marian Hossa (love this deal), and the Sedin twins—nothing special about this last deal, except for the fact that the Canucks are paying $12.2 million per season to get about 190-200 points worth of production. Works for me.